By Geoff Johns, David Finch, & Richard Friend
The events of Trinity War have led into DC’s next major crossover event, Forever Evil. The Crime Syndicate from Earth-Three is now amassing their coalition by destroying all super-prisons, thereby releasing all rogues, and annihilating all who oppose their agenda. The Syndicate announces that the Justice League is dead and to further their point that this world is theirs, they make an example of Nightwing…which will no doubt send shockwaves throughout the DC universe.
Going in knowing that this is the first issue of a massive story arc, extensive exposition should be expected. Despite this, writer Geoff Johns is still able to maintain focus and keep the story streamlined. As super-prisons are broken into, we see numerous rogues that are paid special attention, presenting who may play a major role as the story progresses. Of course, some fun fan service is given, such as the Trickster toying with Deathstroke or Penguin having a conversation with Bane. These little diversions add character to this story and help make it memorable. Also, something to note is that of all the characters in the DC heroes stable, Nightwing was the first to face public punishment by the Crime Syndicate. Now, we know that Johns does have a soft spot for second tier heroes, but it is without a doubt a bold, unconventional move that sends a chill down the spine. The Joker is referenced in the issue as well and makes one go back to see if something was missed. An excellent plot device used to make the reader become more engrossed in the story. Once again, Mr. Johns does not disappoint!
David Finch’s work in other titles seems to have a sense of darkness and unease, which makes him a perfect collaborator for this series. Richard Friend’s inking only intensifies the tone of the book with his added shading and shadows. When the reader reaches a four page full-page shot of the DC rogues gathering, one can’t help but marvel at the skill needed to give each of the memorable villains present subtle details to make them distinctive. Perhaps what stood out most was the splash page that was placed at end of the issue! By switching up the format of the issue in such a way, it can be inferred as an allusion to how the great villains are mirror images/opposites of the protagonist. It is such an ominous, potent image and powerful prelude to the events that are to come. The efforts of the talent reach a high at the culmination of this first installment. Wonderful execution!
This is an issue that can be appreciated after the first reading, but to gain the full effect and understanding it will need to be revisited. Be warned…it is a bleak issue, but that’s the point. It’s time to indulge your dark side and embrace Forever Evil!